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This is one task everyone in their 50s should consider before it’s too late

Life can be unpredictable — especially when it comes to money and health — but that’s all the more reason why people need to prepare.

Long-term care planning is a crucial part of preparing for the future, and is important to do as people get closer to retirement — particularly, once they reach their 50s, experts said.

“Not having a policy can really affect your family and your family’s future planning and lifestyle,” said Brian Walsh, a financial planner at Walsh & Nicholson Financial Group, a wealth management firm. “Having long-term care coverage — that safety net — is a huge peace of mind.”

This type of planning addresses how people will manage health issues in their old age, as well as where they may receive that care and who will provide it. Long-term care is especially useful to those who suffer from physical or cognitive decline when they’re elderly.

See: This program brings nursing home residents joy in an old-fashioned way

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted numerous potential catastrophes for the elderly and their loved ones, including unexpected illnesses, risks associated with underlying health issues and general lifestyle and risks in nursing homes. Although many nursing homes and assisted living facilities have had staff working hard to protect their elderly patients and residents — such as with restricted access to visitors and constant sanitizing of the facilities — COVID-19 “ran rampant” through these establishments, Walsh said. “I think you’ll see people who were planning on entering nursing homes rethink that,” he said.

Read: A new way to pay for the single biggest expense in retirement

People are also living longer than their grandparents or great-grandparents did. Insurers paid a record $11 billion in claims to around 310,000 individuals in 2019, according to insurance industry group American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, or AALTCI, more than half of whom were in their 80s.

Read: Your retirement probably won’t be anything like your parents’ — and that’s not good

Health care is expensive, and the costs only grow as a person ages. The average 65-year-old couple who retired in 2019 could expect to spend $280,000 in retirement for their health care expenses alone, according to Fidelity Investments. That does not include long-term care insurance or the costs associated with that type of care. That figure is also expected to rise every year for the foreseeable future.

The variables that go into choosing the right type of coverage, including the initial ages of the applicant, any health issues they are currently facing, or may face as part of family health history, and how much coverage they want or can afford. Women are more likely to need some form of long-term care because they live longer than men, according to a study about what retirees’ can expect regarding long-term care needs. ← Still, anyone may want to have extra coverage if they are single or without family nearby, said Rob Williams, vice president of financial planning at Charles Schwab. Choosing a plan in your 50s is most cost-effective, he added.

Also see: Long-term care insurance: There’s no good alternative

Insurance carriers offer standalone long-term care policies. There are also life insurance policies with long-term care riders, known as a hybrid policy, which provides the insured with more flexibility about how they use their benefit and if anything is paid out to beneficiaries. Standalone policies can see premiums increase significantly over time, said Joshua Butler, wealth adviser at Girard, a financial services firm. Hybrid policies generally have premiums locked in, he said. Policies can also include automatic inflation adjustments, though that is an added expense. Here’s more on how a long-term care policy works.

Having a policy in place may give patients more opportunities to consider when they need extra care, but it comes with a hefty price tag. The average annual premium for a 55-year-old couple was $3,050 in 2020, according to the AALTCI. For a single 55-year-old woman, that price was $2,650 and for their male counterparts, $1,700. Premium costs increase the older the applicant is. Medicare does not cover much in the way of long-term care, either. The program does cover the full cost of skilled nursing care for 20 days after a hospitalization, and part of the following 80 days, but then the onus is on the patient. Medicaid only offers financial support for skilled nursing care for low-income seniors.

The alternative can be even more expensive, though. Nursing homes could cost nearly $100,000 or more a year, while assisted living costs about half and in-home care about a third of that. Not all Americans have enough money in retirement to pay for those kinds of expenses, especially considering so many people have trouble saving enough for their old age while they’re still working. “[Long-term care planning] could make a significant impact on your retirement,” Butler said. “By not taking it into consideration, you’re also putting your retirement at risk.”

Economic Preview: U.S. September job report is going to show economy entering a weaker phase

American households are used to television dramas where difficult problems are resolved in one hour, or perhaps eight one-hour episodes on Netflix.

So it is with the economy, and there is a growing perception the U.S. economy has been suffering for long enough that the worst must be behind us.

Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, said he routinely comes across people now who think the economy is out of the woods, given that the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.4% a peak of 15%.

They don’t seem to realize that the unemployment rate is still higher than the peak unemployment rate of prior recessions, Daco said, in an interview.

The fact is that even after what has been a fairly strong first phase of recovery, the economy has only recovered to reach levels close to the worst part of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, he added.

The economy now is closer to the gnarly 2009 period than the slow but steady recovery of 2014-2016.

“I think that is often times an eye opener for clients,” he said.

Daco said the September jobs report from the U.S. Labor Department due this coming Friday will signal the economy is entering a critical phase, with less assistance from government and a number of uncertainties from the November elections, the coronavirus pandemic, and uncertain financial markets.

“There are a number of risks and we are going into the fall without much insulation,” he said.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expect the economy added 810,000 jobs in September, down from 1.37 million in the prior month. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 8.2% from 8.4% in August.

Daco is forecasting a sharper slowdown to a gain of 600,000 jobs. He sees the unemployment rate dipping to 8%, but due in part to workers giving up looking for work and dropping out of the labor force.

While 600,000 jobs would be considered strong in an ordinary environment, it is not strong enough to put a dent in the 11 million Americans who have lost jobs during the pandemic and millions more who are underemployed, he said.

“I continue to view the glass as half-empty. We’re still a long ways from where we were pre-Covid,” Daco said.

Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Corp., thinks it may be hard to gauge the strength of the September report given the technical cross-currents in the data.

September is usually the month that summer vacation resort employment declines as the season ends, and without those job losses this year, the reported gain might look stronger. In addition, there was also a decline in temporary census workers in the month that may skew the data to the downside.

The job report will be released Friday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on October 2. There will also be critical data during the week on the manufacturing sector for September from IHS Markit and ISM on Thursday, and on consumer spending and inflation for August.

Helsinki Airport trials use of dogs to detect coronavirus in international arrivals

Helsinki officials are testing the use of coronavirus-detecting dogs at airports, although more scientific research needs to be done to prove the efficiency of canine testing.

The state-funded pilot scheme, which is being overseen by the University of Helsinki, is using scent detection dogs trained by Nose Academy, a Finnish organization that specializes in scent detection, who it says are quick in recognizing coronavirus from samples.

”We have 10 dogs that can reliably work in the airport environment,” Susanna Paavilainen, University of Helsinki research coordinator and Nose Academy Chief Executive, said in a statement.

After arriving at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, passengers at the airport are voluntarily asked to step into a booth where they swipe their skin with a test wipe and drop it into a cup, which is then given to the dog, which is behind a wall with its trainer. This also protects the dog’s handler from infections.

If the result is positive, the passenger is directed to the Helsinki University Hospital’s health information station for further instructions.

International peer-reviewed studies have shown that a dog’s ability to find infected individuals is about 94-100%, depending on the dog, according to the university.

According to preliminary tests conducted by a research group at the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Helsinki, dogs are also able to identify COVID-19 from a much smaller sample than the polymerase chain reaction test — the diagnostic test most widely used by health-care professionals — needing only 10-100 molecules to identify the virus, compared with the 18 million molecules required by laboratory tests.

The university also said it has been found that a dog’s nose has identified the coronavirus infection in asymptomatic people.

One of the dogs that will soon work at Helsinki Airport is an 8-year-old greyhound mix called Kössi, who learned to identify the scent in just seven minutes.

“It is often asked if a dog can catch coronavirus. According to studies, dogs lack the receptor to which the coronavirus attaches,” Paavilainen said, adding that there has been no evidence that dogs of coronavirus patients would become ill.

However, while the trial has shown early promise, research into canine testing for coronavirus is ongoing. Researchers worldwide are training dogs to check for a COVID-19 infection, but they are not certain what exactly the dogs are identifying in the samples and how long the smell stays after the infection has passed. Trained dogs have been used to identify people with malaria parasites and diabetes.

Other countries, including the United Arab Emirates, have started canine testing trials for COVID-19 infections. In July, samples of body odor were taken from passengers’ armpits at Dubai International Airport and were sniffed by dogs, with results delivered in less than one minute. “Data and studies showed that detection of presumed COVID-19 cases achieved approximately 92% in overall accuracy,” Dubai’s Ministry of Interior said in a statement.

In April, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet), started a pilot training program using scent detection dogs to discriminate between samples from COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative patients.

“With up to 300 million smell receptors — compared to six million in humans — dogs are uniquely positioned to aid in disease detection,” the researchers said in a statement.

Paavilainen said that in the future four dogs will work during a shift, the duration of which will depend on the dog. 10 canines are being trained for the job.

“Dogs need to rest from time to time. While two dogs are working, the other two are on a break. The service is mainly intended for passengers arriving from outside the country,” Paavilainen said.

The Tell: Another COVID-19 victim: globalization

The Chinese national flag stands at half staff in Tiananmen Square during a three minute national memorial to commemorate people who died in the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Leo ramirez/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

It’s well-known that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated technological innovations, catapulting remote offices, medical visits and education into the commonplace. Less discussed but just as important is the impact it is likely to have on globalization.

Globalization was faltering even before the pandemic, perhaps even before the recent incarnation of the U.S.-China trade war, notes Neil Shearing, Capital Economics’ chief economist, in an analysis out Monday.

“Nonetheless, history is likely to judge this as the point at which the wave of globalization that has reshaped the world economy over the past three decades began to retreat,” he writes.

While “globalization” is a big term, covering the entire world, its rise and fall center on the globe’s two major superpowers.: China and the U.S.

And COVID-19 has accelerated its retreat. “Mainstream views toward China have become more hawkish,” Shearing writes, “in part due to its early failure to contain the virus but also because of its behavior since.”

Also not sitting well with the rest of the world: China’s priorities in stimulating its economy through the COVID downturn are helping China, not the rest of the world. As Shearing explained earlier in the month, “the policy response by Beijing has so far followed the usual playbook — leaning on state-owned banks to lend, instructing state-owned firms to invest and boosting infrastructure spending. As a result, the recovery has been credit-fueled and investment-led and will ultimately exacerbate the structural problems at the heart of China’s economy.”

Meanwhile, China is exporting more — “everything from PPE to webcams,” Shearing wrote — and importing less.

It’s no crime for a country to prioritize its own growth over boosting the rest of the world, of course — but global trading and economic patterns have long depended on the Chinese “locomotive.” If China isn’t bolstering the rest of the world, that means other nations and trading partners will need to make big changes.

Another result of the distrust that’s built up toward the Chinese government is ripple effects through technology and security policy, including bans on Huawei, TikTok and WeChat. In an earlier analysis, Shearing explained how this so-called “digital nationalism” could be dangerous.

Read: Judge blocks Trump administration’s ban against TikTok from going into effect

In fact, a distrustful world, driven farther apart rather than closer together, could have serious implications, from disrupted payment systems to crackdowns on foreign investment and less information-sharing. At a moment of global crisis, that may be the last thing we need.

Read next: The world is de-globalizing. Here’s what it may mean for investors.

: Target to host Deal Days shopping event during Amazon Prime Day

Target plans to use its stores to fulfill many online orders this holiday season

AFP via Getty Images

Target Corp. said Monday that it will host its Deal Days shopping event on Oct. 13 and Oct. 14, the same days that Inc. is having its delayed Prime Day event.

Amazon AMZN, +1.48% also announced the dates for Prime Day on Monday.

Target Deal Days will feature digital promotions on “hundreds of thousands of items,” according to a statement sent to MarketWatch from the company.

Read: Amazon will host its delayed Prime Day shopping event on Oct. 13 and 14

Target TGT, +1.52% has already begun to detail some of its plans for the holiday. The company teased an October launch of holiday season deals back in July.

The retailer is focusing its holiday staffing on the consumer desire for e-commerce and contactless purchasing, with plans to double the number of workers supporting Order Pickup and Drive Up, which allows consumers to have purchases placed in their cars.

Target seeks to hire about the same number of seasonal workers as last year, according to a company statement, about 130,000. About 40% of seasonal hires stay on once the season is through.

Target says it has added 10 million new e-commerce customers and has seen the demand for same-day fulfillment quadruple during the first half of fiscal 2020.

The company aims to fulfill 90% of its digital orders from stores, a strategy that has helped the company’s bottom line.

See: Holiday sales forecast to grow 1% to 2.6% during new October-to-December shopping season: AlixPartners

The retailer plans to rely heavily on its existing workers, giving them the chance to work additional hours, something that executives say Target associates have asked for.

The company will also give workers the option to train for work in areas of the store they aren’t usually in so they can move to busy spots if necessary.

There will be additional seasonal hires, as well as full-time hires, in distribution centers, and there will be workers dedicated to the front of the store in order to help direct shoppers, clean carts and hand out masks to those who need them.

Key to the holiday strategy will be flexibility.

Also: Halloween sales forecast could be frightful to companies trying to create holiday season momentum

“We want to empower store and distribution teams to take a market by market approach,” said Melissa Kremer, Target’s chief human resources officer, on a Thursday call with the media.

Worker minimum wage at Target is $15 per hour and the company is extending benefits to seasonal workers, including free access to virtual doctor visits, free backup child care to U.S. workers and discounts on educational services.

Walmart Inc. WMT, -0.27%   says it will hire 20,000 seasonal workers.

And: Walmart to hire 20,000 seasonal workers, stocks up on TVs for the holidays

And Radial, a company that provides fulfillment services, supply chain services and other retail services, will hire 25,000 seasonal workers across North America.

According to data provided by Incisiv, a retail industry insights firm, and technology company Manhattan Associates, 80% of shoppers are expecting to increase their use of buy-online-pickup-in-store services this holiday season, and 90% would prefer home delivery over a store visit for the next six months.

More than three-quarters (79%) say contactless store pickups are very important to them.

“We are not expecting long line on Black Friday morning, but we expect an active and engaged guest,” Target’s Chief Executive Brian Cornell said on a call with reporters.

Target stock has gained 22.4% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index SPX, +1.32% has increased nearly 4% for the period.

This article was originally published on Sept. 24, 2020.

The Margin: 1 in 3 parents won’t vaccinate their children against the flu, even though pediatricians say it’s ‘more important than ever’

There’s one way parents can arm their families against getting sick this fall — but many moms and dads don’t want to do it.

Vaccinating children against the flu is “more important than ever” this year, according to the new American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations for preventing influenza during the 2020-21 flu season. But one in three American parents plan to skip getting flu shots for their kids during the pandemic, according to the National Poll on Children’s Health released Monday. What’s more, two-thirds of the surveyed parents (66%) said they did not believe that getting their kids vaccinated against the flu was more important this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That runs counter to what many pediatricians have been saying. Public officials are concerned about a “twindemic” of both the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 and the seasonal flu overwhelming hospital beds and emergency services this fall and winter. More than 189,215 Americans have died from COVID-19, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University. And the flu is responsible for between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths a year. So pediatricians advise parents to vaccinate all kids ages 6 months and up before the end of October, when flu season begins.

CDC director Robert Redfield also recently warned that America is bracing for “the worst fall, from a public health perspective, we’ve ever had.”

“We’re going to have COVID in the fall, and we’re going to have flu in the fall. And either one of those by themselves can stress certain hospital systems,” Redfield said

Read more:CDC director warns America is in for the ‘worst fall … we’ve ever had’

Problem is, less than half of the country (47%) got a flu shot last year. The CDC normally recommends that 60% to 70% of the country get the influenza inoculation to keep the virus under control, and it’s pushing for 65% compliance this year. The vaccine lowers your risk of complications or dying from the flu, even if you do get sick.

And fears of catching COVID-19 at the doctor’s office has been keeping many parents from bringing their kids in for regular wellness visits, including inoculations. Two-thirds of parents in a recent Orlando Health report said that they are “still nervous” about taking their kids to the pediatrician because of the pandemic. The World Health Organization and UNICEF have also warned of “an alarming decline” in the number of children getting lifesaving vaccinations around the world as the coronavirus has spread.

This hesitation was seen in the new National Poll on Children’s Health survey, as well, with one in seven parents saying that they are keeping their child away from health care sites due to concerns about COVID-19. And less than half of surveyed parents (44%) said their child’s regular health care provider strongly recommends the flu vaccination this year, so mixed messaging may be giving some parents reason to pause, as well — especially since common flu virus myths are the main culprits keeping most of these moms and dads from vaccinating their kids. Four in 10 parents (42%) who weren’t planning to get their kids flu shots this year expressed concerns about side effects from the vaccine. Another 40% believe that the flu vaccine is not necessary, and 32% don’t believe it is effective.

Last flu season, 188 children and teens under 19 died of complications from influenza, according to the CDC. About 80% of children who die are not vaccinated.

Opinion:This claim about the flu shot is all wrong

“As a pediatrician, I am very concerned about the health of children and their families this fall if these two potentially deadly viruses [COVID-19 and the flu] are circulating in the community at the same time,” Dr. Flor Munoz, the lead author of the AAP recommendations, said in a statement. “Children play a pivotal role in the transmission of influenza to others in their household. They can also get seriously ill from influenza without a vaccination.”

If you’re uninsured, the shots generally run between $40 and $60 at drugstores like CVS CVS, +1.91%  , Walmart WMT, -0.27%  and Target TGT, +1.54%  . You can also find health centers near you, or look up your state’s free and discounted vaccine offerings, at

Related:Fight the flu with these 10 proven treatments

Here are the AAP’s 2020-21 Recommendations on Preventing Influenza:

  • Everyone age 6 months and older, including healthy persons and those with high-risk conditions, should get vaccinated for the flu this year.
  • Children should receive the flu vaccine as soon as it is available in their community, as it takes two weeks for the vaccine to work. Vaccinations should ideally be done by the end of October, when flu season begins. The flu season peaks between December and February.
  • Both the flu shot and nasal spray vaccines are fine; there’s no preference given to one or the other. This year, all influenza vaccines for children will be quadrivalent vaccines, including two A and two B flu virus strains, to protect against the four strains of the influenza virus expected to circulate this season.
  • The number of recommended flu vaccine doses depends on a child’s age at the time of their first administered dose, and on their vaccine history. Children ages 6 months to 8 years should receive two doses if this is the first time they are being vaccinated against the flu, or if they have only received one dose of flu vaccine ever before July 1st, 2020. But only one flu vaccine dose is necessary for children 9 years and older, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated before, and for children up to 8 years old who have received at least two doses of flu vaccine before July 1st, 2020, even if not given during the same season.
  • All children with an egg allergy of any severity can get the flu vaccine without any additional precautions beyond those recommended for any vaccine.
  • Pregnant women may receive the flu vaccine (the inactivated influenza vaccine only) at any time during pregnancy. Maternal vaccination can protect infants in the first few months of life, which is important because there are no vaccines available for infants 0 to 6 months of age.
  • All health care personnel should receive an annual seasonal influenza vaccine to prevent influenza and reduce health care-associated influenza infections.

And follow MarketWatch’s coronavirus coverage here.

This article was originally published on Sept. 8, 2020, and has been updated with the National Poll on Children’s Health report.

Howard Gold's No-Nonsense Investing: Let Bezos and Musk make billions. Just force them to share a little with the rest of us

In July the internet went nuts when Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, made $13 billion in one day, according to Bloomberg. Typical was the response of progressive former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who tweeted:

“During the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Jeff Bezos added $13,000,000,000 to his wealth in a single day.

“Tax the rich.”

Indeed, American billionaires saw their wealth increase by $434 billion during the two months between mid-March and mid-May when nearly 30 million Americans lost their jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is this fundamentally unfair? Yes and no.

Can we do much to narrow the gap? Probably not.

Should we make sure more of the massive wealth accumulated by a few can help everybody else? Absolutely.

But first, why do so few people get so rich so quickly? It’s the stock market, stupid.

How wealth accumulates

Bezos owns more than 50 million Amazon AMZN, +1.48%  shares, a bit more than 10% of the company’s outstanding stock. In August, he briefly became the first person whose net worth hit $200 billion. Mark Zuckerberg owns nearly 29% of Facebook FB, +0.44%  Class A shares, while Elon Musk owns about 20% of Tesla’s TSLA, +2.95%  stock.

From the March lows to their recent peaks, Amazon and Facebook shares roughly doubled, and Tesla stock skyrocketed nearly 600%. It’s simple multiplication: If you own a lot of shares and the price goes up a lot, so does your total wealth. People who don’t own stock may see their net worth stagnate or decrease. Hence the widening gap.

This is all driven by a massive change that Robert H. Frank, professor emeritus at Cornell University, identified in his 1995 book, “The Winner-Take-All Society,” which he wrote with Philip J. Cook.

Stock ownership, Frank explained in a telephone interview, “is very heavily concentrated at the top. And since the market has been a big source of gain, that’s been a factor in making the wealth gap much bigger. Outside of the top 10% of wealth holders, there’s only a small amount of stock owned by the population.”

Dominant players

Why do so few people get such outsized rewards?

“Technology now enables the people or the firms who are best at whatever they do to serve a broader and broader market over time. If you’re the best at what you do, you used to get 10% more than the next best guy, but now you get a hundred times or a thousand times, or even much more than that. Everybody wants to buy the best.”

And the “network” effect has enabled platforms like Amazon in online retailing, Facebook in social networks, Alphabet’s GOOG, +0.55%  Google in search, and Tesla in electric vehicles to become dominant players, making them highly valuable to investors. Plus, funding ecosystems that go from angel investors to venture capitalists to initial public offerings have created a path for entrepreneurs to raise capital, go public and possibly get very, very rich from their share holdings.

If you believe in meritocracy, it’s hard to say it’s fundamentally wrong to provide products or services customers desire or own a stock investors want to buy. But especially when so many people are suffering from events that were no fault of their own, maybe mega-billionaires should share their wealth just a little more with the rest of us.

A wealth tax has its proponents — professors Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez of UC Berkeley calculate it would have reduced the wealth of the richest billionaires by 50%-80% as of 2018 — but nine of the 12 European countries that had one have dropped it and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden doesn’t support it.

Capital gains taxes

Capital gains taxes are currently a maximum 23.8% for long-term gains while the top marginal tax rate on income is 37%. Biden proposes taxing all capital gains of $1 million or more at his new top individual income tax rate of 39.6%. Ole Agersnap and Owen Zidar of Princeton University found that investors aren’t that sensitive to changes in capital gains rates and that a cap gains tax rate of 40% would bring in the most tax revenue. It also would precisely target the rich.

“The people who pay capital gains taxes are almost exclusively very wealthy,” says Frank, the Cornell professor emeritus. “They own almost all the shares. And the only shares that people below them own are in 401(k)s,” which, of course, aren’t subject to capital gains taxes.

The money, Frank suggested, could go to upgrading our aging, broken infrastructure. “If we tax those people more heavily and invested that money in the public sector, we’d get lots of good stuff that would be valuable to the rich people and everyone else,” he said.

“The pre-tax income gap doesn’t matter at all. What matters is that we have enough money to invest in the things we know to be necessary.”

So, it’s not about closing the wealth gap by knocking Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg, et al., down a peg or two. It’s about using some of that wealth to lift up everyone else.

Howard R. Gold is a MarketWatch columnist. Follow him on Twitter @howardrgold1 and on his Substack newsletter, “Sheer Heresy.”

Capitol Report: $70,000 in hairstyling expenses? Ocasio-Cortez attacks Republicans over Trump’s taxes

President Donald Trump.

Getty Images

Last year, New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez paid a couple of hundred bucks for a trip to the hair salon, firing up her critics, both across the internet and in the media.

The Washington Times, for instance, ran the headline, “Self-declared socialist AOC splurges on high-dollar hairdo,” as critics took to Twitter TWTR, +0.19% to voice their shock over her huge spend.

Fast forward to Sunday’s big scoop from the New York Times on President Donald Trump’s history of not paying taxes, which included a mention of a $70,000 deduction to style his hair while he filmed “The Apprentice,” and, well, here’s what AOC had to say about it: 

She wasn’t the only politician wading into the fray Sunday night on Twitter as the #TrumpTaxes hashtag topped the trending list.

And while the president dismissed the report, what does 2012 Donald Trump think about all this? Well, this tweet from back then might help answer that question:

Uber wins 18-month license to continue to operate in London

Shares in Uber rose almost 4% in premarket U.S. trading, after the ride-hailing app won an appeal allowing it to continue to operate in London, its biggest European market.

“Uber does not have a perfect record but it has been an improving picture,” Deputy Chief Magistrate Tanweer Ikram said in a written verdict on Monday. “Despite their historical failings, I find them, now, to be a fit and proper person to hold a London private hire vehicle (PHV) operator’s license,” he concluded.

The city transport regulator Transport for London (TfL) had decided not to renew Uber’s PHV operating license in November 2019, over concerns about its safety practices. TfL said it found several breaches that placed passengers at risk, including a change that allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other driver accounts. Another failure allowed dismissed or suspended drivers to create an Uber account and pick up passengers. Uber was allowed to continue operating, pending the appeal.

Uber has since introduced a range of new safety measures in the app, including real-time identification checks for drivers.

Following the successful appeal on Monday, Uber was granted a new 18-month license with 21 conditions attached, which were jointly proposed by Uber and TfL. These include verification of insurance documents as well as measures to prevent drivers from tampering with Uber’s system.

Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for, said the decision was an important victory for the company and removes a significant regulatory overhang. “But the pandemic continues to exert an enormous drag on earnings and present management with a significant headache over the business model,” Wilson said.

However, he cautioned that this wasn’t a permanent pass for the taxi-app. “The mayor of London indicated that Uber would face continuous scrutiny, whilst the company faces ongoing competition in the capital from the likes of India’s Ola and Estonia’s Bolt. But the decision today unquestionably is a good news story for Uber as it tries to stop its cash burn.”

Uber’s problems with TfL date to 2017, when the regulator denied Uber a license, deeming it not ‘fit and proper’ to operate and saying it demonstrated a lack of corporate responsibility. That decision was overturned in 2018 after a judge concluded that new governance arrangements were sufficient and granted it a 15-month license to operate in London.

Read:Uber to issue $500 million eight-year bonds

The victory will come as a relief to the San-Francisco based company, which has faced regulatory obstacles in several countries worldwide.

“This decision is a recognition of Uber’s commitment to safety and we will continue to work constructively with TfL. There is nothing more important than the safety of the people who use the Uber app as we work together to keep London moving,” Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern & eastern Europe, said.

Shares in Uber rose 3.5% in premarket U.S. trading to $35.67 on Monday.

London, with around 3.5 million users and around 45,000 drivers, is Uber’s largest market in Europe and has been dubbed one of the group’s ‘fab five’ cities — along with New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and São Paulo — which accounted for around a quarter of the company’s global revenues before the coronavirus pandemic, according to’s Wilson.

The Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), representing black cab drivers, said the decision was a “disaster for London.”

“Uber has demonstrated time and time again that it simply can’t be trusted to put the safety of Londoners, its drivers and other road users above profit. Sadly, it seems that Uber is too big to regulate effectively, but too big to fail,” Steve McNamara, general secretary of the LTDA, said in a statement.

Election: Tuesday’s presidential debate: Biden must ‘aggressively’ push back against Trump to win, expert says

Tuesday night’s presidential debate is expected to set an audience record, breaking the 2016 mark of 84 million viewers, as President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden meet in person for the first time since Trump’s January 2017 inauguration.

History suggests the clash could make a difference because the White House race is tight in critical swing states, and there are certain keys to a debate victory for each candidate, according to Mitchell McKinney, a presidential-debates expert who leads the University of Missouri’s Political Communication Institute.

“For Biden to win, he’s got to exceed this low bar of expectations that he can’t stand there for 90 minutes and string two sentences together,” McKinney told MarketWatch. “But he also has to demonstrate for anxious, nervous Democrats, and also for an anxious, nervous perhaps even wider swath of the citizenry, that he can aggressively meet Donald Trump and push back.”

He noted that Trump’s critics view him as a “this bully, this tyrant, and the president himself sort of relishes this bully image,” so there’s a risk that Biden “will just fade on the stage.”

Biden faces relatively low expectations ahead of the debate thanks in part to Trump, who has attacked his opponent as not all there, McKinney said. That differs from the typical strategy of trying to set high expectations for your opponent, and Trump’s re-election campaign manager, Bill Stepien, has aimed to do exactly that, telling reporters earlier this month that Biden is “not formidable anywhere else, but he is formidable on the debate stage.”

For Trump, a win in the debate would involve making a “strong case” that he deserves four more years in office, rather than just arguing that a Biden administration would be a disaster, according to the Mizzou debates expert.

The president also could end up being viewed as the victor if Biden only matches or performs below expectations, McKinney said — if the former two-term vice president, who spent 3½ decades in the U.S. Senate, “stumbles, he fumbles,” and faced with the “overwhelming aggression of Donald Trump, he fades in comparison.”

Related:When is the first Trump and Biden debate?

And see:Chris Wallace of Fox News reveals topics chosen for first Biden-Trump debate

Pundits will focus on who “was most coherent, had fewer issues with the fact checkers, and had the most memorable one-liners,” said Melissa K. Miller, a professor of political science at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

“Who can forget Ronald Reagan saying ‘There you go again’ to Jimmy Carter? Or Lloyd Bentsen telling Dan Quayle ‘You’re no Jack Kennedy’? ” she told MarketWatch in an email. “These zingers tend to be what gets remembered, though there’s no evidence they actually changed anyone’s mind.”

Other analysts are also questioning the potential impact of the debate, which is slated to take place at 9 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday in Cleveland, with Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic serving as hosts.

“The debate will likely break ratings records,” but a recent Wall Street Journal column’s view that the clash will have the 2020 campaign’s most important 30 minutes is “an over-exaggeration, to say the least,” said Ben Koltun, a senior research analyst at Beacon Policy Advisors, in a note. “In a year (four years, really) characterized by many remarkable 30-minute intervals, the matchup between Trump and Biden has remained remarkably steady.”

Biden’s polling lead over Trump in top swing states has not ranged that much for the past six months, staying between about 2 percentage points and 6 points, according to a RealClearPolitics moving average of polls.

Related:Here’s how key swing states are leaning in the presidential race — and how they’re weathering the recession

But Mizzou’s McKinney said his analysis of past debates suggests that Tuesday’s face-off and other debates next month could in fact be influential in determining the outcome of the Nov. 3 election.

“We found that in the range of 90% to 95% of debate watchers are unchanged. They come to the debate with their minds made up, committed to one of the candidates,” he said. However, there is a small slice of the audience, usually 2% to 3% but sometimes as much as 4% or 5%, that is affected, McKinney added.

“These are the folks that typically haven’t been following the campaign very closely,” he said, but they end up being part of a viewing audience that can exceed 80 million, as debates have a “strong reach.”

“That’s where I point to the debates as potentially consequential,” the professor said. “They can move the needle for 2% or 3% of the viewers, and we’ve got races in these states that are just neck-and-neck, virtually tied. They really can have an effect.”

Biden’s polling advantage in the swing states of North Carolina and Florida is just around 1%, according to the RealClearPolitics averages of polls. His lead across six battleground states viewed as likely to decide the election is 3.7% overall, with that figure taking into account surveys in those two states plus Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump and his campaign have said pollsters are getting the 2020 race wrong.

Tuesday’s debate comes as the U.S. death toll in the coronavirus pandemic has topped 200,000, and as Trump’s recent refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power has generated headlines. News reports also have been dominated by his pick of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for a Supreme Court vacancy and The New York Times publishing details on his income tax returns.

The latest jobs report has suggested an economic recovery from the coronavirus recession is still plowing ahead even if the pace of growth has slowed since the start of the summer. The release showed the U.S. regained 1.4 million jobs last month as the unemployment rate fell to 8.4%.

Beyond the polls, Trump often touts the performance of the stock market DJIA, +1.24%. The S&P 500 SPX, +1.16%  has been selling off this month, but the equity gauge is still positive for the year and notched an all-time high on Sept. 2.

A campaign’s financial reports are another closely watched measure of viability, and Biden’s $466 million in cash on hand at the start of this month exceeded Trump’s cash on hand by $141 million.

Trump and Biden are scheduled to debate two more times after Cleveland, meeting Oct. 15 in Miami and Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tenn.

This is an updated version of a report that was first published on Sept. 25, 2020